NP Town Council will hold special vote on Mansolillo's future

NP Town Council will hold special vote on Mansolillo's future

UPDATE - Wednesday afternoon

Members of the North Providence Town Council are planning a special meeting to determine the fate of Raymond Mansolillo, the board's $175-an-hour attorney consultant on matters relating to the town's $60 million Google fund.

Councilors again expressed outrage Tuesday night at what they called Mansolillo's "unprofessional" behavior in writing emails to the U.S. Department of Justice that were disparaging of Police Chief Paul Martellini.

Martellini and members of Mayor Charles Lombardi's administration on Tuesday urged the council to fire Mansolillo right away, with Martellini saying he would refuse to engage in any discussions about the Google money if the attorney was present, but Town Council President Kristen Catanzaro said she would not consider such an immediate action because a termination vote wasn't advertised to take place at Tuesday's meeting.

The special meeting on Mansolillo's employment with the town is set for next Monday, May 12.

Original story from Wednesday:

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Members the North Providence Town Council have no immediate plans to shed the services of attorney Raymond Mansolillo, despite what some are calling a lack of professionalism in a memo about the town's Google money, or the fact that he is not personally licensed to practice law in Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the $60 million Google fund remains frozen, approximately $35 million unable to be spent until town officials can resolve the ongoing controversy over who has final authority over how the money is spent, Mayor Charles Lombardi or the Town Council.

Council President Kristen Catanzaro joined the chorus of council members who said they did not authorize Mansolillo's April 23 memo to the Department of Justice that accused Police Chief Paul Martellini of "backroom deals" and misleading council members about a $150,000 payment from the 2012 Google winnings to Hopkinton.

"I did not authorize an email; none of us authorized an email," said Catanzaro. "I never talk like that. I don't do that; I'm much more professional."

But Catanzaro, along with four other members of the council, are sticking with Mansolillo as their adviser on the Google money and related issues. Members Manny Giusti and Stephen Feola have been against his hiring from the beginning.

Despite Mansolillo's unauthorized memo, or as Martellini and Mayor Charles Lombardi first pointed out, the fact that the attorney doesn't have a license to practice law in Rhode Island, Catanzaro said the council is sticking with Mansolillo.

She cited a loophole in the law that allowed the council to hire Mansolillo's firm, Boston-based Mansolillo-Calabro, and not Mansolillo himself.

Town Solicitor Anthony Gallone confirmed that Mansolillo is not personally licensed to practice law in Rhode Island, which is why Gallone has declined to respond to his requests for information.

Catanzaro said Mansolillo has proven to know what he's talking about on federal forfeiture funds, and has offered sound advice to the council on how it should proceed in its battle with Lombardi over who should control spending of the Google money. Mansolillo shares the council majority's view that the elected body has final authority over the spending of the Google money, which is now down to about $35 million.

The council was set to discuss the standoff over Mansolillo and the Google money at its meeting Tuesday night.

Neither the council or Lombardi are budging on their stances that they should have final authority on the spending of the Google money, but Catanzaro remained hopeful this week that a resolution is right around the corner. Attorneys for both sides were indicating that a meeting could finally happen shortly to resolve the situation, said Catanzaro.

Mansolillo is refusing to answer phone calls either on the memo or his lack of a license to practice law in the state. In an email to Martellini dated April 25, he said he "extended the olive branch a week ago and received no response, while you and the mayor's staff thought it would be best to talk to the press instead."

He added, 'if you have something useful to say that will be beneficial to the citizens you serve, call me and discuss it. If matters aren't open and transparent, then yes, I will consider them backroom deals."

Mansolillo said Martellini did not contradict what he called "conflicting" statements that the chief made, but the attorney refused to return calls to say what the conflicting statements were. He texted The Breeze to say that he wouldn't return a phone call until an update was made to a story on The Breeze website.

The original memo from Mansolillo cites a story in The North Providence Breeze about Martellini's plan to give $150,000 to Hopkinton (R.I.) for upgrades to its dispatch services. According to Mansolillo's memo, he interpreted Martellini's comments as "some type of payback for services" to Hopkinton Chief David Palmer for his time serving as interim chief in North Providence. He said the council was "misled" and said the deal to help Palmer "smells of backroom deals and improperly taking care of friends."

Martellini is angry at Mansolillo's accusations that he misled the attorney or the council, saying the purpose of the fund transfer to upgrade Hopkinton's dispatch services has not changed.

Comments

Let's see if I understand this:
Not licensed to practice in the State of RI.
Called unprofessional by Council President, on the record.
Pens a clearly unprofessional letter to the DOJ.

North Providence council? YOU, SIR, ARE HIRED!!!

This has to be the strangest Council action in any town/city.

You have problems when your own solicitor states:

"Town Solicitor Anthony Gallone confirmed that Mansolillo is not personally licensed to practice law in Rhode Island, which is why Gallone has declined to respond to his requests for information."

BUT WAIT; being good politicians, ha we found a loop hole! YES!

"She (Catanzaro) cited a loophole in the law that allowed the council to hire Mansolillo's firm, Boston-based Mansolillo-Calabro, and not Mansolillo himself."

Certainly deserves a big "OH MY"

Mansolillo knows about the DOJ and forfeiture money management, a lot more than the Mayor obviously does.
He may not be skilled in what he says to the press but I'd go for the experience. We are a state of RI lawyers and look where that has gotten us.
It's all about the Google money and what the right way is to manage it, keep on this path of thinking, it may even help us get some control on spending of our tax dollars

If the Chief has to get approval from the DOJ for all the spending, then how is that a backroom deal? It's not like he's walking around with a pocket full of cash. How much am I paying this lawyer?

Glad I moved to Florida left np last year still have family up there , they are coming next month. A friend told me about this issue I watched Tuesdays council meeting what a show

So we are spending $175 per hour so Council can argue how to spend free money. Classic. As another poster indicated, DOJ has to approve all spending requests. So now Council wants to approve a request before that request can be sent to be approved by the federal authority that has final say?

The spending of forfeiture funds is limited in scope (police/law-enforcement related) so this latest council bid again makes little sense

Catanzaro uses a loophole to hire a guy to close what she thinks is a loophole giving Lombardi authority to send spending requests. If that isn't hypocrisy, not sure what is.